ambient displays overview

ambient orb

A more general overview over things happening and that happend in the field of ambient displays. The more mobile aspects will be further explored.

further reading:
Tangible Media Group at MIT Media Lab (e.g. Ishii, Wisneski et al. (1998))
Greenberg et al. (Univ. of Calgary)
Mankoff and Dey (UC Berkeley)
Mynatt et al. (GeorgiaTech)
Heiner et al. (Carnegie Mellon University)
Fraunhofer FIT
Fraunhofer Ambient Agoras

backgrounds:
Ambient displays as “large public displays pushing information to trigger synchronous and asynchronous informal interactions in organizations” (cited from Grasso et al., 2001, Supporting Communities of Practice With Large Screen Displays)
Email and other written information uses “explicit” encoding, leading to less bias but requiring full attention of the user.
information processing of peripheral sensoric input
> not distracting
> sudden change will raise our attention

pre-attentive processing (“cocktail-party phenomenon”)
> Filter of relevant information out of noisy environment (subconscious)
> If known or important data is found it is brought to our conscious attention

examples

Utilizing Mobile Phones as Ambient Displays
Schmidt, Häkkilä, Atterer, Rukzio, Holleis, HCI-Lab Munich for CHI 2006

Ambient Phone

Despite its promising title, the ambientphone deals with what I would call information visualisation. It makes interesting points about all the data that gets already stored in a phone but is barely used (e.g.: which person do I call how often when?). The proposition is to visualize this information in an animation, running as a screensaver. Thus, it would be revealed to the owner, but not to others who don’t know the relations between data and graphics.

Ambient Umbrella

ambient umbrella
by Ambient Devices, well known with their “orb”.
“If rain is forecast, the handle of this umbrella glows so you won’t forget it.”

Nabaztag Wifi Smart Rabbit by Violet

An ambient display, with that serves several purposes: Connected via WIFI (&rt;possibly mobile), audio output (may read your emails) and (soon) input, social interaction (ears coupled with the ears of your friend’s rabbit)

PhantomParasol

Phantom Parasol

PhantomParasol: a parasol-type display transitioning from ambient to detailed
Koji Tsukada and Toshiyuki Masui, AIST, JP for pervasive2006

A very nice and playful idea to easily and smoothly transit between the states “ambient” and “detailed” of a display: Simply by rotating an umbrella and exploiting the “after-image-effect”. Unfortunately it is not quite clear how the ambient state will look like or how it will present its information. But it’s worth reading!

Hello.Wall

hello.wall scenario

Ambient displays and mobile devices for the creation of social architectural spaces, Streitz, Prante, Röcker, Van Alphen, Magerkurth, Stenzel, Plewe, 2003
The Hello.Wall “is inspired by the capability of humans to perceive and to interpret ambient information in order to convey the ‘feeling of the place’ or ‘genius loci’.” It consists of a wall with large, independently glooming points and mobile hand-held devices (the “ViewPorts”) that communicate via RFID for sensing and WLAN for data exchange.

For informal communication ambient displays offer a perfect platform together with some analogies in their basic concepts. Informal communication is a vital part for productivity and creativity on a corporation level, similiar to soft skills on a personal level. More specific it can compensate the weaknesses of the formal flow of information (“Flurfunk”), communiciate an organization’s values, and help to build teams.

Examples:
Poll: Ambiently results are displayed, if user come closer they are encouraged to participate in the evaluation.
Memory game: Locactions are on the wall, but pictures “on the downside” of the lights are displayed on the ViewPort-Handheld.
HaloCode: A special light pattern signifies that a passing person was awarded for an “outstanding performance”.

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